Casting Call: A Fourth Christopher Nolan Batman Film Russ Whiting July 20, 2012 Casting Call, Movies Here’s the plan: We kidnap Christopher Nolan (maybe even David Goyer too), director of the beloved Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films — chain him up real good in my (mom’s) basement next to a rusty typewriter and a doggy dish full of water, then force feed him naught but rat pube tumbleweeds and caffeine pills until he whips up another Batman film for us. Alright. Put the phone down; I don’t really want to imprison the guy against his will (on account of that whole ‘illegality’ thing), but for the sake of this article — hell yes — that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. Besides, it’s his fault for saying that The Dark Knight Rises will be his final Batman film. Way to only think of yourself, jackass. While most sites will be speculating on the most logical post-Nolan route to take (something I did 5 months ago, no big deal) I decided to be a unique little snowflake and do just the opposite. Seriously though, who do we have left for villains? As much as I’d love to see them actualized, the more chimerical villains like Man-Bat, Clayface, and even Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze wouldn’t fit in Nolan’s scheme. Here’s who would, though: Minor Players/Cameos Firefly – Michael Fassbender Firefly art courtesy of Chuckdee. Chances are you’ve never even heard of Firefly. Don’t feel bad. He’s never been a major player in the Batverse anyway. Why? There’s no real distinction to the guy besides his penchant for setting things on fire… with his fire gun. Uh, and really liking fire. Also, his real name is Garfield Lynns. Fucking Garfield. Fassbender first impressed me as bad-ass young Magneto thirsty for reprisal in X-Men: First Class and again as eerily fascinating android David in Prometheus. Let’s use him to bring a quirky, dangerous slant to Firefly and let Nolan work his magic in giving the villain a role useful enough to make us give a damn. Lady Shiva – Maggie Q As one of the most skilled martial artists in the DC Universe and the deadliest of Rha’s Al Ghul’s assassins, Sandra Woosan, otherwise known as Lady Shiva, is definitely one bad bitch. She’s fought Batman to standstills, and beaten the absolute trash out of fighters formidable as Catwoman, Huntress, and Connor Hawke – the Green Arrow. After Bane broke Batman’s back in the Knightfall storyline, it was Shiva that Bruce Wayne sought to regain his fighting prowess. That’s what the kids these days would call “mad props.” Maggie Q, of Live Free or Die Hard and action-thriller TV series Nikita, has both the looks and action starlet, Kung-Fu grip skill set to bring Shiva to life. Plus, she satiates that “attractive Asian girl” fetish that is inherent in every comic book fan ever who isn’t already Asian. If you still aren’t sold on ol’ Sandra being able to scrap, here’s a nice gallery of her inflicting bodily harm on various opponents. Now let’s see Shiva in some Nolan-constructed fight scenes that make the ones in Inception look like something from Undefeatable. Fun fact: Shiva’s deadliest maneuver, “The Leopard Blow,” is just that; a one-touch Dim Mak maneuver that is reportedly fatal. Also, the crux for many bestiality jokes here at the AiPT offices, because we’re puerile little dopes. Harley Quinn – Kristen Bell Out of well-deserved reverence to Heath Ledger, Nolan wouldn’t include a replacement Joker in a fourth Batman installment. But that’s alright — Harleen Quinzel is a strong enough villain to shine on her own with or without her “puddin’.” There were rumors swirling around back before The Dark Knight that British actress Sarah Jayne Dunn was slated to play the part, but we all know that didn’t happen. And with all due respect to Sarah Jayne Dunn, who in the shit-guzzling Hell are you? As much as I think Amanda Seyfried looks the part – I literally suffered physical pain from watching her in Red Riding Hood. (The back of my head hit my seat when I fell asleep 20 minutes in.) And her other performances haven’t been markedly better. Kristen Bell has said she’s wanted to play Harley since she was a little girl. She’s played a bitch in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and done batshit crazy in Heroes. If she could coalesce those performances with a hint of Sheri Moon Zombie’s “Baby” Firefly from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects – then she might be able to bring Harley Quinn to life. Deadshot – Clive Owen If you’re not familiar with Deadshot, check out this clip from the animated DC Universe movie, Batman: Gotham Knight or his origin story in Justice League #7.1 for a good idea of what he could bring to the table in a Bat-film. We’ve explored motifs of anarchic lunacy with the Joker, failed righteousness in Two-Face, and Batman’s physical and fighting equal in Bane. With Deadshot, we are given different methods of combating the Bat: An expert marskman that never misses that can shoot his ass from a mile away. Just imagine the cinematic bad-assedness resulting from the game of cat and… flying rodent all throughout the dark cityscape of Gotham. Would love to see the counter-sniper and counter-stealth aspects of Batman’s skill set portrayed as a result of dealing with Deadshot, as well. As for who would play him – he’d be in mask the whole time, so it wouldn’t matter as much. Let’s grab Clive Owen, who has shown his knack for gun-slinging in Sin City, Killer Elite, and the aptly-named Shoot ‘Em Up. Calendar Man – Conleth Hill No, not this asshole: I meant this asshole: Not much better, I know. Yes, he’s a pretty feeble component of Batman’s rogue gallery, but might be worth a cryptic conversation’s worth of screen time with Batman through a glass cell, feeding the Dark Knight information on a killer, ala The Long Halloween. He’d be played by Conleth Hill, who plays a creepy-ass bald eunuch in HBO’s Game of Thrones. Ironically, a quote of his from the Arkham City game is one of his most interesting instances of characterization: “I wasn’t real close to my dad, and after my first internment at Arkham we never spoke at all. Seems he wrote me off as a wacko, a loser. So after I was released, I wanted to clear the air between us. The next Father’s Day I dropped by his place and suggested we go fishing. You ever go fishing with your pop? Well, it’s some fun, let me tell you. The two of us, out on the water, pulling in one whopper after another. Of course, I was doing the actual pulling. Dad was baiting the hooks. You know, with a finger, a foot, an eye…whatever I had left of him. Even today, whenever I eat a nice piece of fish, I feel closer to my dear old dad.” Uh… yeah, whatever man. I’m pretty sure they’re not serving you tuna fillets or mahi-mahi rolls in your maximum security prison – but whatever makes you sound more demented is cool with me. Major Villains Black Mask – Viggo Mortensen Most of you know Viggo Mortensen for his portrayal of heroic Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Don’t let that fool you though — his role as a brutal, trained killer in A History of Violence and a sardonic, cerebral Satan in Prophecy prove that he can be downright sinister if need be. That’s just what we’ll need for the man portraying Roman Sionis, businessman turned sadistic Gotham crime boss, Black Mask. Plus, his gravel-throated voice is a perfect complement to Batman’s. Just imagine the grindcore metal-esque shouting maches they could have with each other! Professor Pyg – Michael C. Hall Lazlo Valentin, or Professor Pyg (short for Pygmalion), is one of the most memorable of Batman’s newest villains. He was created by Grant Morrison, who describes the character as “one of the weirdest, most insane characters that’s ever been in Batman.” Obsessed with transforming people into Dollotrons, which entails bonding doll faces to his victims’ faces, lobotomizing them, and even subjecting them to gender reassignment surgeries with cordless drills, hammers, and ice picks – we can see that Grant Morrison wasn’t exaggerating in the least. Who better than Michael C. Hall, of Dexter fame to bring the creepy serial killer vibe in full effect? Riddler – David Tennant While I have to thank Jim Carrey’s rendition of Edward Nigma in Batman Forever for teaching my twelve-year old self the phrase, “Joygasm,” and how to turn any household object that vaguely resembled a cylinder into a baton… that shit would just not fly in the Nolanverse. The remedy? No theatrics. Nolan’s Riddler would be more realistic and cerebral. Think Jeremy Iron’s character from Die Hard: With A Vengeance with the cleverness turned up several notches. Another great chance to delve more into the detective aspect of Batman’s game as well, as opposed to just bashing skulls. While popular opinion out there on the internet is that Johnny Depp should play the Riddler, and he’d do a fine job, I think David Tennant, the Scottish actor, of Doctor Who fame is more suited in both the looks and demeanor departments. Get the The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises) on Blu-ray now and save $18.53. http://www.facebook.com/howie.decker.3 Howie Decker Great casting! LOVE the idea of Maggie Q as Shiva, and the pube tumbleweeds. Guy’s gotta eat. http://twitter.com/RussellEWhiting Russ Whiting Glad you liked the post, Howie. I definitely left out a few characters that I had considered including – Thomas Elliot, and the Red Hood being a few of the notables – but there’s always next time. Talk to you again, soon. Pingback: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Movies: Best Bikes of Cinema Run I would love to see Harley Quinn come vist Gotham under orders from her incarcerated boyfriend, with Sophia Vergara playing the part. Check her out in “Madea Goes to Jail”, and tell me that she couldn’t pull it off. Plus, a Latina villain would spice things up and add diversity. The Riddler should be more like Gerard Butler’s character in “Law Abiding Citizen”, except his calculating brain is offset with a humerous demeanor. It would be a nice way of re-introducing a “Joker-like” character element in Ledger’s absence, while at the same time allowing some twists that weren’t explored with the Joker. For example, where the Joker was extremely controlled, the Riddler might lose his cool once in awhile, but the temper tantrums could ramp up his creativity…a bad thing for Batman. I can picture many different actors in the role, but Leo DiCaprio would be the best. Lastly, we could use another appearance from the Pinguin, played masterfully by Philip Seymore Hoffman! First, the character would fit easily into Nolan’s realistic universe as Bruce Wayne’s former roomie at prep school or even Princeton. Secondly, the Pinguin would make a great foil for the Riddler and Harley Quinn. Since the latter two are nursing, the more same but sinister Pinguin would provide balance in much the same way that two-face provided a nice contrast to Heath Ledger’s Joker. It would be really nice to see what Nolan could do with all three characters, especially the Pinguin. ComicBookPickUpArtist Nice choices, especially Tennant as Riddler. Think he’d do even better than DiCaprio or Depp, who I’ve often seen fantasy cast in the role. Wanna do sex?